1941

In January 1941, the American Consul General sent a form letter to Ernst which stated, in unfriendly terms, that due to the shortage of transport to the USA, it was incumbent on the visa applicant to obtain steamship tickets before visas would be issued as visas were valid for a period of four months only. This was followed by the statement:'you are urgently requested not to address further communications to this office.  [1]       Alvin Johnson replied on the 7th of February to Lore's letter of the 26th of January.  [2] He wrote:" It fills me with admiration for the way in which you and your children bear up under the difficult circumstances of the time. My settlement in North Carolina has gone through its first critical year, and at the time they are busily planting spring crops. We hope to add seven more families in the near future etc. You and your husband are educators-great educators. There ought to be a place for you in America. My settlement is not the place, because you are not farmers, and there is no other function in the community by which you could make a living." That letter clearly indicated the end of Lore's association with Alvin Johnson.  [3]     During the winter of 1940/41, the British Air Force defeated the German Luftwaffe. The bombing of Newport ceased and Nant Coch School returned home the following March, 1941. Gladys Stefyn, wrote:" This is to testify that Dr.L Goldschmidt has been a resident at Cleddon Hall, branch of Drayton High School, Newport, Mon. since it opened in September 1940. During this time the school has received several children from Dr.Goldschmidt's former school at Folkestone, when they were turned out of their billets in Caerwent and these have settled down happily amongst our own pupils. Her devotion to the children in her charge is worthy of the highest of praise. During the six months she has been here Dr.Goldschmidt has also acted as Matron and supervised the housekeeping to my entire satisfaction."  [4]  She added a second testimony praising Dr.Leonore Goldschmidt's work and personality.  [5] Otto Fendrich wrote: "I cannot remember why we left Cleddon Hall. A few of us went to Lydney where again I was billeted with Joseph Keiler. I have lost touch even with him- the last thing I heard about him was that he went to Bristol University to study Electrical Engineering."  [6]      Lore could not follow to Newport, as it was still a protected area  [7] , and found herself without any teaching position or place to live. Temporarily, she joined Pastor Smith who had been moved to Maryland near Trelleck. At that same time, Ernst was released from the Internment Camp. Devastated by his internment, without a home of his own, with his family dispersed, found the support and friendship of his family members and friends in London invaluable. He found refuge with his second cousin Robert and Margot Goldschmidt at 32 Beechwood Avenue, Finchley. Usually overcrowded, 32 was a home from home for all family and friends during WWII.  [8]   Joe Bender took him to lunch in an Italian Restaurant. He visited Alfons Cohn, where he met Lore’s niece, Mine, about to marry Dick Kean, a law student. He visited Hans Baum, son of a Coblenz cousin, who was busy making plastic buttons for the British Army. Then he offered his services to the International Labour Branch in London.  [9] Slowly he began to find his feet.   By the end of April, Lore had found a temporary position with an evacuated school, St Helens Girls' School, Tregoyd, Three Cocks. Brecon. It was a live-in position where Ernst could not join her. This made him very unhappy. Nevertheless, he started to work on outstanding items. He sought and got permission to visit Folkestone. The houses had not been bombed and the garden was as beautiful as ever. He wondered why the school had left? He started to negotiate further furniture sales with Catesby's. [10] He worked hard to regulate the position of all evacuated pupils. On May 1st, he visited B'nai Brith. Mrs Epstein, who was angry with Lore for reporting her and the B'nai Brith to the Movement for the Care of Children, kept him waiting for an hour and called Mrs.Heinemann for assistance but after giving both the latest information on all the children sponsored by them, he finally succeeded in obtaining the outstanding money for items such as spectacles, shoes, and other minor items. He reported to Lore that he thought that "they were broke". He went to see the "Movement for the Care of Children", the organization that had brought the children to England and who were ultimately responsible for them. They admitted their difficulties and asked him to consider opening a new hostel. He sent all this information to Lore plus copies of the Times Educational Supplement. He informed her that, as of the 28th of February, the possibility of employment for Aliens by State Institutions had been granted. It was, therefore, of great importance that she found a good job, especially as he wanted so urgently to join her. In the meantime, more problems with billeting pupils arose. Two boys, Pless and Gold, needed new billets. Lore wanted them to go to Lydney Grammar School. She asked Jimmy Waite, the new friend from Tintern to make inquiries. The answer was very negative because the matter had been referred to the Clerk to the Lydney Rural District Council in Chepstow who said that the other three boys should not have been billeted there either. Jimmy advised not to proceed as they could risk losing the other billets. He offered to try to find other billets for the boys and give them lessons if required. He was a true friend!  [11]      By June, Lore had rented a cottage and Ernst joined her, the worst was over! They were able to spend their summer holidays in another Welsh beauty spot, Three Cocks, Brecon. I joined them and studied Latin with my mother for an extra O-level examination next December. The parents discussed their future. With all the rejections and all the other problems that they had encountered while looking after the children in England, both decided that they did not want to open another hostel but wanted to move on with their lives. With employment restrictions lifted, Ernst wanted to obtain a position as a wages accountant. Lore decided to return to teaching in government schools, her original choice.

 

Once this decision was made, the Dr.Leonore Goldschmidt Schule or Athelstan School ceased to exist.

 



[1] Letters from US Consulate in London to Ernst, 1940-1941,  in possession of the author

[2] Letter from Johnson to LG, 7/2/1941, in possession of the author

[3] The author paid avisit to the Titles Office in Burgaw, County Town of the County of Pender,North Carolina, in the fall of 1990. She found several documents relating toVan Eeden Farm lands:- 1) The purchase of the land on the 9th of September 1939from Hugh Macrae and Co. by the Alvin Corporation for the peppercorn price of$10  2) Contracts with refugeefarmers Lewin, Willman and Wolf. 3) Mortgage release documents for thesesettlers, as none were able to meet their mortgage obligations. Wolf was thelast to leave on the 15th of December 1949. The author met the present owner,war veteran John Wilkins, who bought all the land and improvements from theAlvin Corporation in 1949 for $11000 with his GI grant. Wilkins, who had turnedthe whole acreage into a dairy farm with 75 Holstein Fresian cows, told theauthor that Johnson's scheme was totally unsuitable for the Van Eeden tract as,due to very poor drainage, vegetable farming could never be economical. It wasa sad story but Lore's efforts had saved the lives of these Jewish farmers.

[4] Testimony by Gladys Stefyn, Headmistress, 14/12/1940, in possession of theauthor

[5] To Whom It May Concern, 9/3/1941 in possession of the author

[6] End of letter from Fendrich to the author, 29/1.1986

[7] Letter from Chief Constable of Newport to LG,1/5/1941, in possession of theauthor

[8] Correspondence between Ernst and Lore ending 15/5/1941 in possession ofthe author

[9] Ministry of Labour and National Service to EG, letter in possession of theauthor

[10] Letter Catesbys to EG, in possession of the author

[11] Letter from J Waite to LG, in possession of the author